Catch Me If You Can

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and brief language
Starring:Leonardo DeCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken
Directed By:Steven Spielberg

Final Grade:

In a time when the box office is trying to cram lots of movies in before the end of the year, many of them hoping for that last minute Oscar Buzz, I found myself in a line for the newest in the latest Leonardo DeCaprio outbreak of films. I figured I had chosen the better of the two films, since this flick co-starred Tom Hanks, who has proven his acting skills over the last few decades and shocked me earlier in the year with The Road to Perdition. And I had heard rumors of Christopher Walken starring in it as well. Who could ask for more? As the lights when down, I figured I would be in for a real treat.

Catch Me If You Can, which is based on a true story, is the tale of young Frank Abagnale Jr. (DeCaprio), A young kid who watched his father (Walken) go bankrupt and his parents divorce. When asked to choose between the two parents, Frank heads off on his own without a dime in his pocket. He quickly learns that in the real world everything he needs can be obtained with funny money instead of the real thing. Posing as a airline pilot, a doctor and a lawyer Frank gains millions through check fraud, but not without making a few enemies along the way, one of them being Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) an FBI agent who makes catching Frank into something far more personal than it should be. This leads to a cat and mouse game of wits between the two and a battle to see who comes out on top and who sinks away in shame.

DeCaprio has grown up a lot since his years as Titanic Wonder boy. The star that disappeared off the face of the earth and was nearly on the “Jason’s where Are They Now List” has come back in a very vigorous attempt at making a name for himself once again. Two Movies released about the same time, this one and the other being the newest Martin Scosese flick Gangs of New York the once young Leo is on a mission. However this is a mission I have a fear will once again go awry. Leo has definitely matured over the years, and in a lot of ways improved since his earlier work in Titanic, but all in all he is still just a wannabe in a way. His acting is improving don’ get me wrong, but I really don’t get any feeling of depth in his character, like I did with his supporting cast member Tom Hanks. Hanks once again did not let me down, and was a joy to watch on the screen. It was nice to see him as a supporting role for once, and I found it a joy to see him work his brilliance in such a small, but important role. Christopher Walken, well he was great to, but then again when is this always amazing, forever-creepy man not good? Walken’s role was small, but he didn’t let that keep him from taking it to the next level. And Walken’s “2 Little Mice” speech (which is partially quoted later on in this review) is something that is only something he could say with such “weird” elegance.

The problem I had with Catch Me If You Can was that it was just way too long. It took forever for the movie to get started, way too much not useless back-story, but just stuff that could have been easily edited out. By the time the movie got going, I was already slightly bored which is never a good thing. Which leads me to a tangent of why is it the DeCaprio and Hanks as of late have this thing for LONG Movies? Catch Me If You Can is roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes, while Gangs of New York, runs just under 3 hours, and Hanks’ Road To Perditon was over 2 hours. And of course who could forget Cast Away, which made me feel like I was stranded in a theater for something like 3 years rather than 3 hours. Tangent aside I am simply saying it took a really long time to get anywhere. Mix that with the idea that I’m not really sure what the film wanted to be. Was it supposed to be serious? Was it supposed to be a comedy? Did it know? I’m not really sure to be honest with you. But I do know that it struggles with this issue all the way through which hinders it from being a grade A flick. In most cases this could be ignored, but in a film that is directed by Steven Spielberg it just didn’t quite make the end cut

Is Catch Me If You Can worth the dough? Maybe not, maybe so. (Look everyone I can rhyme!) It’s an average flick but nothing to write home about. (To steal phrase coined by the Mike.) In the end, there are better films out there, but if you think you have seen them all by now, go check it out. I’m not sure if it is worth the $6.25 admission, but it’s definitely worth the dollar you would spend when it makes it to North Grand. I leave this review with a quote by Christopher Walken from Catch Me If You Can (However I have slightly altered it) This sums up my thoughts on the film pretty well. If you want to know the full quote in its context then you will just have to check out Catch Me If You Can won’t you?

Two Little Mice fell into a bucket of cream. One of them gave up and drowned. The other churned the cream until it turned to butter so he could climb out. – (edit) Unfortunately it took the mouse (DeCaprio) 2 hours two long to churn the cream into butter, and by the time he climbed out, I had just plain lost interest….

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